Australia is Muslim nation, islamic scholar says

Australia is a Muslim nation, the head of Prime Minister John Howard’s Muslim advisory board says.

Dr Ameer Ali says most Australians practise Muslim values but the Muslim community is being alienated and disadvantaged by Islamophobia.

Dr Ali said multiculturalism was Australia’s destiny but Muslims, as latecomers, were being disadvantaged.

“We would like to remain in this country as citizens like anybody else, but with cultural individuality preserved,” he said.

“We want an Australia which is like a fruit salad with a nice juice in it, not a mega fruit juice.”

Before addressing a conference on national identity on Sunday, Dr Ali said Muslim values were practised in Australia.

“When I go abroad, they ask me where do I come from? I say I come from a Muslim country,” he said.

“Which country, they say. Australia.

“That’s not a Muslim country. Yes it’s Muslim country.

“For the value that my religion preaches, these people practise.

“So I see Islam here but (the people) may not be Muslims, but in (other) countries I see Muslims but not Islam.

“So when I come back to Australia, I’ve been told to respect Australian values and now I am confused, because I see no contradiction at all.

“Values are universal. Human values – there is no such thing as Australian values.”

Dr Ali has denied a report in The Australian newspaper last week which quoted him as saying that Muslims should not blindly follow the Koran and that Mohammed was not the perfect model and had human flaws.

But Dr Ali said the comments and a caption underneath a photograph saying “Muslim minds closed” were deeply offensive to all Muslims.

Federal parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs, Andrew Robb, said Dr Ali should be congratulated for the comments.

But Dr Ali has been inundated with complaints from angry Muslims since the story appeared and Australia’s most senior Islamic cleric called for him to be ostracised.

“I have received a number of emails from my fellow Muslims who have taken this opportunity to ridicule me and I do not deny their right to do so,” Dr Ali said.

“The description projected by the article in The Australian totally misrepresents the noble character of the Holy Prophet who was sent as a model to humanity.

“Any part that I may have unwittingly played in this depiction is deeply regretted.”

Dr Ali’s term on the Muslim advisory board expired last month.

Mr Robb has been considering the make-up and structure of the board and an announcement is expected this week.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday October 8, 2006.
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